Eric Scheidler speaks at the International Pro-Life Youth Conference in Los Angeles Nov. 10 [Photo by John Jansen]
This past weekend, Eric Scheidler and I traveled to Los Angeles for the second annual International Pro-Life Youth Conference to join hundreds of enthusiastic young pro-lifers and an All-Star cast of speakers, including Lila Rose, Fr. Frank Pavone, Ryan Bomberger, Star Parker, Troy Newman, Bryan Kemper, and Kristan Hawkins.
The conference was hosted by Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust and Priests for Life and co-sponsored by several other including the Pro-Life Action League League, which provided copies of our Sharing the Pro-Life Message handbook to all attendees.
On the first day of the conference, Eric Scheidler delivered a new PowerPoint presentation provocatively titled “First Convince Them You’re Wrong”.
Eric explained that when we talk about abortion with those who are firmly committed to the “pro-choice” ideology, they very often think that the pro-life position doesn’t deserve a hearing, and that we pro-lifers are completely crazy.
Our first step, then, has to be convince our “pro-choice” audience that they need to give the pro-life position a second look. In all likelihood, we’re not going to change the mind of a hard-core abortion supporter on the spot, but if, by being diplomatic in our presentation of the pro-life message, we can convince them that we are merely wrong—and not crazy—we will plant the seeds for an eventual change of heart.
A slide from Eric Scheidler’s presentation on pro-life dialog at the IPLY Conference
Eric conveyed ten main points in his presentation, each of which is listed in the opening section of Sharing the Pro-Life Message.
They include: “Listen, and pay attention,” Take time to think—and pray,” “Always be respectful,” “Make it personal,” “Pick your battles and keep it simple,” and “Always leave the door open.”
We Can’t Wait for “Someone Else” to Fight the Battle against Abortion
Not only was IPYC a great opportunity to reunite with several longtime friends in the pro-life movement, but it also allowed both Eric and me to meet several high school and college students who are interested in stepping up their commitment to fight abortion. And I was especially pleased that the two students who won the two Pro-Life Curriculums we raffled off are both intent on starting pro-life clubs in their public high schools!
In light of last week’s election results, conference speakers repeatedly made the point that we simply cannot wait for someone else—politicians, or whomever—to fight the battle against abortion. Make no mistake, this message was heard loud and clear, as there was no hint of defeatism or despair on the part of the many students Eric and I had the privilege of meeting.
The conference concluded Monday, as conference attendees caravanned to L.A. to crash the premiere of Breaking Dawn – Part 2 by setting up a pro-life display and handing out hundreds of first-rate publications from Human Life Alliance.
All in all, the IPYC was a tremendous experience, and it was an honor for Eric and me to be a part of it.